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Repetitious Prayer

Mungo

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The Bible condemns repetitious prayer (Mt 6:7)
(Usually said in reference to the Rosary)

“when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” (KJV)
Jesus did not condemn repetitious prayer but vain repetitons
vain
c.1300, "devoid of real value, idle, unprofitable," from O.Fr. vein "worthless," from L. vanus "idle, empty," from PIE *wa-no-, from root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out" (cf. O.E. wanian "to lessen," wan "deficient;" O.N. vanta "to lack;" L. vacare "to be empty," vastus "empty, waste;" Avestan va- "lack," Pers. vang "empty, poor;" Skt. una- "deficient"). Meaning "conceited" first recorded 1690s, from earlier sense of "silly, idle, foolish" (late 14c.). Phrase in vain "to no effect" (c.1300, after L. in vanum) preserves the original sense. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

vain
2 producing no result; useless. having no likelihood of fulfilment: a vain boast. (Concise Oxford English Dictionary)

This is sometimes translated as babbling:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans” (NAB)

or empty phrases (RSV)
“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do

Jesus himself prayed repetitiously as in the Garden of Gethsemene:
“And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words (Mt 26:44)

Psalm 136 is very repetitious, repeating the words “God’s love endures forever” 26 time

The four living creatures before the throne say repetitious prayers:
“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev 4:8)

And then the 24 elders say repeatedly:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11)

As for the Rosary, it is using scripture to meditate on scripture.
It has also been more easily seen how the orderly and gradual unfolding of the Rosary reflects the very way in which the Word of God, mercifully entering into human affairs, brought about the Redemption. The Rosary considers in harmonious succession the principal salvific events accomplished in Christ, from His virginal conception and the mysteries of His childhood to the culminating moments of the Passover-the blessed passion and the glorious resurrection-and to the effects of this on the infant Church on the day of Pentecost, and on the Virgin Mary when at the end of her earthly life she was assumed body and soul into her heavenly home.
As a Gospel prayer, centered on the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation, the Rosary is therefore a prayer with a clearly Christological orientation. Its most characteristic element, in fact, the litany-like succession of Hail Mary's, becomes in itself an unceasing praise of Christ, who is the ultimate object both of the angel's announcement and of the greeting of the mother of John the Baptist: "Blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Lk. 1:42).
By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded.

Taken from Marialis Cultus by Pope Paul VI
 

WIP

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You are correct that Jesus never condemned repeated prayers. He was speaking about what comes from one's heart. It's the same theme when He spoke of giving alms, charitable deeds, fasting, and praying aloud.

I would not be surprised to discover that most people that recite the rosary are vainly repeating the prayers. In other words they recite the words they have been taught rather than praying those words from their heart. To their credit, most of their repeated prayers are not to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit but to Mary, asking for her intercessional prayers for them.

Consider this. Why use a rosary in order to keep track of everything? When Jesus prayed in the garden, I sincerely doubt He counted in order to keep track of how many times He repeated His prayers.
 
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Mungo

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You are correct that Jesus never condemned repeated prayers. He was speaking about what comes from one's heart. It's the same theme when He spoke of giving alms, charitable deeds, fasting, and praying aloud.

I would not be surprised to discover that most people that recite the rosary are vainly repeating the prayers. In other words they recite the words they have been taught rather than praying those words from their heart. To their credit, most of their repeated prayers are not to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit but to Mary, asking for her intercessional prayers for them.

Consider this. Why use a rosary in order to keep track of everything? When Jesus prayed in the garden, I sincerely doubt He counted in order to keep track of how many times He repeated His prayers.

The Rosary is meant to be a meditation on the life of Christ. The Directory of Popular Piety, issued by the Vatican says:
The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires "tranquillity of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life".
I expect some people do rattle it off, but it is not meant to be that way.
Some people start each decade with a reading from scripture that reflects the theme of that decade.
As to the beads and number of "Hail Mary's" etc we need to understand the origins and how it developed.

I’m no expert on the origins of this but I understand its roots go back to the time when priests and religious recited all 150 psalms over the week. Poor people, unable to read said 150 “Our Father’s” instead, using knotted cords or beads on cords. The Our Father in Latin is Paternoster and there is still a street in London called Paternoster Row, where such beaded cords were made. When devotion to Mary grew the original greeting of Gabriel to Mary was used expressed as “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee”. Later Elizabeth’s greeting was added (Lk 1:42) and then other words added until we get the Hail Mary as we know it today. In the15th century the idea of meditating on the events of Christ’s life was introduced and the beads divided into sets of 10. It gradually evolved to what we have today which is a meditation on the life of Christ.

Wikipedia, in it's article on Paternoster Row, has a slight variation on this:

As far back as the 12th century, the road was known as Paternoster Row, as it was the main place in London where Paternoster beads were made by skilled craftsmen. The beads were popular with illiterate monks and friars at the time, who prayed 30 Paternoster prayers (Latin for "Our Father") three times a day as a substitute for the 150 psalms recited a day by literate monks.
 
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